This is Part Four of a five-part series on simple approaches to backgrounds in the visual journal and paintings. See Part One here.
Last December I was buried beneath the latest of the blog transfer issues. I didn’t get to post a number of images and posts I’d worked up.
Today’s image falls well into discussion of simple approaches for backgrounds—expand your backgrounds.
When I drew today’s featured sketch I didn’t allow enough space for the tassel on the hat. That really bothered me—it made the drawing look cramped.
I decided to add a fold up at the top of the page—you can do this by adhering paper to the back of the page, or if you’re still in the process of painting you can even add it to the front of the page and hide the paper’s edges somewhat in the sketch.
The key thing to remember is the grain direction of the paper you’re adding needs to fall in the direction it will be folded so that you can flip it up and down or in and out REPEATEDLY. Therefore the two fold outs on this page have the grain direction going with the width of the page. If I had added a fold out on the fore edge the grain direction of the paper I was adding would need to be parallel to the spine.
For my fold outs I elected to use some gridded paper that was on hand. I glued the papers to the back of the page, folding them forward.
Note that the bottom fold out also folds vertically on the spine side of the fold out. This is because I wanted to widen the piece there to allow for more volume in the beard. However because that portion of the flap crossed the spine, it needed to fold vertically so it could retract when closing the book.
Additionally, because I think folds of this type can get bulky, I cut the top portion of the extension horizontally at the base of the page, the width of that left flap, so that the flap would simply fold in. Then it folds up with the main fold. (You can see this in main image if you look at the bottom of the page.)
The addition of extensions to your page allows you not only extra height and width (depending on where you place your additions) for your sketch—it allows you to add subtle or strident textures depending on your selection of paper for the fold out and your treatment.
Tip: Remember to take into account how your added paper will take the media you are using. The switch from a smooth page to a cold press paper fold up will require a different approach in media application to retain continuity across your sketch.
Have fun expanding some of your pages!